Best Photos of 2012

This has been a pretty amazing year at The Inertia. We’ve been lucky enough to play host to some of the planet’s best photographers, who have used our site as a platform to display their work. And we’re grateful to them for it. Grateful to them for opening our eyes to sights we’d most likely never see. Grateful to them for their mastery of an art that is in an almost constant state of flux. But most of all, we’re grateful to them for letting us show you, dear reader, what we think are the best images of surfing, exotic places, and just generally the things that make the world go ’round. These are The Inertia’s Most Popular Photos of 2012. Enjoy.

-Alexander Haro, The Inertia Associate Editor

Top Galleries


Kelly catching his breath1. Kelly Slater: 20 Great Photos by Branden Aroyan

Once I asked Kelly, “What kind of waves do you want to surf today?” “Hollow barrels with no one out,” he responded. That reply formed our continual search. The following 20 gorgeous images of Kelly Slater are from those journeys.


nikki van dijk2. Portfolio: Clare Plueckhahn by Clare Plueckhahn

Voted in 2010 as one of the top 100 most influential and creative people in Melbourne, Clare Plueckhahn has been operating as a freelance photographer and filmmaker for the past four years.


Rarely-Surfed-Lineups3. Rarely Surfed Lineups around the Planet by John Seaton Callahan

From Oman to Mauritania, Haiti to Comoros, Liberia to Algeria, surfEXPLORE is a collective dedicated to surfing exploration. Since 2007, we’ve traveled the world in search of new waves and deep cultural immersion. These images of rarely-touched lineups prove it.


4. Portfolio: Lucia Griggi by Lucia Griggi

From shooting portraits in the calm control of a studio to swimming out into the maelstrom of Pipeline, Lucia’s photography is a broad palette of still, quiet and violent and loud.


Many great waves have been destroyed because of the Cult of the Secret Spot. SurfExplore believes the only way forward is through openness and recognition of economic value.5. 10 Endangered Secret Spots by John Seaton Callahan

Many great waves have been destroyed because of the Cult of the Secret Spot. SurfExplore believes the only way forward is through openness and recognition of economic value.


It’s taken me years to find my niche within my photography, and now that I have, it’s such a great place to be.6. Portfolio: Russell Ord by Russell Ord

It’s taken me years to find my niche within my photography, and now that I have, it’s such a great place to be.


These photos are of slabs: terrifying, heart-stopping, backless walls of water that are not meant to be surfed. Yet somehow, adrenalin junky surfers find a way to ride them. These forty-or-so images that should inspire fear.7. Slabs, Mutants, and Freak Waves by Russell Ord

These photos are of slabs: terrifying, heart-stopping, backless walls of water that are not meant to be surfed. Yet somehow, adrenalin junky surfers find a way to ride them. These forty-or-so images that should inspire fear.


Nate Smith8. Portfolio: Nate Smith by Nate Smith

I’ve had some great opportunities to travel and shoot with some of the best surfers in the world. At the end of the day I’m loving what I’m doing; it’s really as simple as that.


Epic Photos and Tales from Sandy9. Epic Photos and Tales from Hurricane Sandy by Patrick Eichstaedt

Like the old saying goes, the good comes with bad, and Sandy proved that beyond a doubt. Here are a collection of stories, photos and experiences from one of the most memorable storms we’ve ever had.


Seth Migdail10. Portfolio: Seth Migdail by Seth Migdail

I explore the human limits and big wave surfing at Mavericks, as well as the harsh conditions the everyday surfer encounters in Northern California.


In the last handful of months, the East Coast saw the best run of surf in recent history. Although I’ve traveled nonstop, logged thousands of road miles this season, I still wasn’t able to be at each swell, but this is a collection of my favorite moments11. The Wild Atlantic by Eddie Compo

In the last handful of months, the East Coast saw the best run of surf in recent history. Although I’ve traveled nonstop, logged thousands of road miles this season, I still wasn’t able to be at each swell, but this is a collection of my favorite moments.


I’ve been shooting and documenting the hurricanes and storms that hit Maryland for the past few years, and have never seen anything like Sandy. No doubt the biggest wave ever ridden in Maryland.12. Sandy Produces Maryland’s Biggest Waves by Nick Denny

I’ve been shooting and documenting the hurricanes and storms that hit Maryland for the past few years, and have never seen anything like Sandy. No doubt the biggest wave ever ridden in Maryland.


Jason Kenworthy’s career shooting surf photos has garnished over fifty magazine covers worldwide.

13. Portfolio: Jason Kenworthy by Jason Kenworthy

Jason Kenworthy’s career shooting surf photos has garnished over fifty magazine covers worldwide.


I love where I live, I feel very lucky to live here. I have always loved the ocean and the area around it, so began my quest to document it through photography.

14. Portfolio: Alex Marks by Alex Marks

I love where I live, I feel very lucky to live here. I have always loved the ocean and the area around it, so began my quest to document it through photography.


Islands have some of the best waves, and this gallery shows twenty of the world’s best surfing islands. From India to Indonesia, there’s a wave for everyone.

15. 20 Best Surfing Islands by John Seaton Callahan

Islands have some of the best waves, and this gallery shows twenty of the world’s best surfing islands. From India to Indonesia, there’s a wave for everyone.